Thanksgiving is a time for family and celebration. It’s also a time for waste. Over the holiday season, the refuse that Americans produce dramatically increases. However, it doesn’t need to be that way. Reducing the environmental impact of the Thanksgiving season is easier than it seems. You only have to make a few simple changes to have a green Thanksgiving this year.
Make Crafts from Scrap Materials
If you’ve got pine cones littered across your yard, you’ve got the beginnings of a wonderful Thanksgiving craft project. Gather together some orange, brown and yellow chenille stems, some felt scraps and some hot glue. The adorable turkeys you create will make excellent place cards for children on Thanksgiving day. They also can be bundled together to make an attractive holiday centerpiece for the table. Many other Thanksgiving craft projects can come from your recycling bin and scrap craft materials.
On Thanksgiving, many people gorge themselves beyond reason. Often they’re unaware of the discomfort they’re feeling. It’s a surprise when they step on the scale and find an extra five to ten pounds gained over the holiday season. Still, many of us regard the term “eat less” with dread, even when it could provide relief from the pain caused by holiday overeating. There’s certainly no need to starve yourself on Thanksgiving day. However, Thanksgiving dinner is best regarded as being just like any other meal. Take normal, healthy portion sizes instead of heaping food on your plate.
Consider Going Vegetarian this Thanksgiving
Approximately 45 million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving season. That makes about 675 million pounds. The production of turkeys for meat is one of the most wasteful agricultural practices in existence. Many people are unaware that turkeys produced for food are most often genetically engineered. They’re usually raised and killed in filthy and inhumane conditions. When you know that truth about turkeys, having a vegetarian Thanksgiving holiday sounds a lot more appealing.
Parting with the turkey doesn’t mean you have to part with tradition. Thanksgiving recipes such as Three Sisters Stew, sweet potatoes and stuffed squash can be easily elevated to the status of entrees by adding a little extra protein. There are plenty of vegetarian protein sources, such as beans, tofu, TVP and seitan (wheat gluten). Dairy products and eggs can ramp up the protein of both traditional and non-traditional Thanksgiving dishes.
This is the easiest and most basic way to have a green Thanksgiving. The secret to effective recycling is organization. Create a space under the sink for cardboard, paper, plastic, glass and metal. Then create another space out in the garage. Check with your city to get recycling bins. Many places will allow you to have three. Then check your city’s website to see what their pick up schedule is. Be sure to save some of the recyclables for holiday craft projects.
Don’t throw those pumpkin rinds in the garbage. Instead, put your holiday kitchen and yard scraps in a compost pile. A simple, inexpensive compost container can be created from chicken wire and scrap wood. Plastic bins are also available for purchase from eco-friendly sites. Just make sure that you add some dry, brown grass clippings or leaves each time you add food waste to the compost, and turn it often. When the compost is finished, it will look black and earthy and have a clean smell. Use it to fertilize a garden of fresh fruits and vegetables.